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Written by:
Paul Holland
10 Jan 2022

Applications are open for one of the UK’s leading social innovation prizes, supported by Trinity Hall and the Cambridge Centre for Social Innovation at the University of Cambridge.

The £10,000 annual prize supports social innovators in the UK who look to improve society through their ventures and who are bubbling-over with ambitious plans for the future.

Winners in previous years have included:

  • Angela McKay’s co-operative bakery Homebaked who’s inspirational role in revitalising the high street in Anfield has gone on to be the subject of a musical (and they’ve even featured on BBC’s Mary Berry – Love to Cook).
  • Sashy Nathan (Commons Legal) where a criminal defence law firm funds social justice alongside the criminal justice system, funding projects like an in-house social worker who interacts with their clients in parallel with the legal process.
  • Occupational Therapy provider GriffinOT where founder Kim Griffin has worked to ensure the services she provides are affordable by indexing her pricing model to the UK’s National Minimum Wage.

Our winners have made a real difference to their communities and their customers and now, at a time of great businesses uncertainty, we’re looking for the next visionary CEOs to help them refocus on the future and make sure social enterprises are at the heart of the pandemic recovery effort.

The prize was made possible by businessman Graham Ross-Russell, who is a Trinity Hall Honorary Fellow and alumnus. He said he hoped the winners would become part of a community that would benefit the world: “I think society will be affected and influenced by the success of a growing community of prize winners.”

That community, centred around Trinity Hall and the Cambridge Centre for Social Innovation, was central to what made the prize so attractive, said Mr Ross-Russell: “One of the rewards of winning the prize is they become part of this community and I believe that will not only be helpful to them individually but will be a help to the community as a whole.”

He added he would encourage anyone looking at social innovation to apply, even if they don’t see themselves as a social innovator.

“I have been delighted to hear some of the effects on the winners. We are not trying to reward ‘past achievement’ but to encourage them and help them in the current state of their development.”

Support goes beyond the cash prize with mentoring provided by the Cambridge Social Ventures team at the Cambridge Judge Business School, part of the University of Cambridge.

The prize is aimed at both business leaders who have always put social impact at the core of what they do and those who are realising social enterprise will form an integral part of their growth and success. The deadline for applications is 8 April. For more information and the eligibility criteria visit the Social Innovation Prize webpages.

More about the prize winners

You can hear from last year’s winners through a series of podcasts that look into their incredible work and how the prize has helped them: